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A Description of New Netherland


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ForewordPrefacePublication History of Adriaen van der Donck's A Description of New NetherlandMap of New NetherlandA Description of New Netherland:The Country Where New Netherland Is Situated When and by Whom New Netherland Was First Discovered Why This Territory Was Named New Netherland The Dutch, the First Possessors of New Netherland The Limits of New Netherland and How Far They Extend Of the Coast, Foreshore, and Seaports The South River Of the North River Of the Fresh River Of the East River Of the Various Waters and Their Shapes Of the Formation and Soil of the Land Of Wood and Vegetation Of the Fruit Trees Brought Over from the Netherlands Of the Vineyards Of Vegetables Generally Of the Flowers Of the Medicinal Herbs and Indigo Of Agriculture and Field Crops Of the Minerals and the Kinds of Earth and Stone Of the Paints and Dyes Of the Animals in New Netherland Of the Wild Animals Of the Avifauna, Aquatic and Terrestrial, and First the Raptors Of the Terrestrial Birds Of the Aquatic Birds Of the Fish Of the Poisons Of the Wind Of the Air Of the SeasonsOf the Manners and Extraordinary Qualities of the Original Natives of New Netherland Their Bodily Shape, and Why They Are Called Wilden Fare and Food of the Indians Of the Dress and Ornaments of Men and Women Their Houses, Castles, and Settlements Ways of Marriage and Childbirth Of Suckling, and the Relations between Men and Women Ways of Burial, Lamentation, and Mourning Their Festivities and Special Gatherings How Human Beings and Animals First Came to That Country Of the Different Nations and Languages Of Money and Their Manufacture of It The Innate Character and the Pastimes of the Indians Their Bodily Care and Medicine The Farming, Planting, and Gardening of the Indians Special Account of Their Hunting and Fishing Distinctions of Birth, Rank, and Quality Of Their Warfare and Weapons Of Their Administration of Justice and Penalties Of the Universal Law of Nations Of Gifts and Offerings Of the Indians' Government and Public Policy Their Religion and Whether They Can Be Christianized Of Their Sentiments regarding Hope of Afterlife Of the Knowledge of God and the Fear of Devils Their Thoughts on the Creation and Propagation of Mankind and Animals in the WorldOf the Nature, Amazing Ways, and Properties of the BeaversA Conversation between a Dutch Patriot and a New Netherlander concerning the Condition of New NetherlandAppendix: A List and Suggested Identification of the Latinized Plant Names Recorded by Adriaen van der DonckNotesIndex

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An indispensable first-hand account of the lives and world of Dutch colonists and northeastern Native communities in the seventeenth century

About the Author

Charles T. Gehring is the director of the New Netherland Project with the New York State Library and the coeditor of numerous collections of original documents from Dutch New Netherland. William A. Starna is a professor emeritus of anthropology at the State University of New York College at Oneonta and a coeditor of Iroquois Journey: An Anthropologist Remembers (Nebraska 2007). Gehring and Starna coedited A Journey into Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635: The Journal of Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert and (with Dean R. Snow) In Mohawk Country: Early Narratives of a Native People. Diederik Willem Goedhuys is a native of the Netherlands and thirty year resident of South Africa. In addition to having knowledge of Dutch, Afrikaans, and English at his disposal, he also spent several months at the New Netherland Project in Albany, New York, where he had access to the best reference sources for the translation of a seventeenth-century publication.


"If you've been waiting for centuries for a full translation of Adriaen van der Donck's 1655 work A Description of New Netherland, your wait is over. In this work, edited by Charles T. Gehring and William A. Starna, one of the colony's most astute observers ruminates on flora and fauna (his six-foot-long lobster sounds like the subject of a proverbial fish story), including meditations on "the amazing ways" of beavers and sightings of beached whales near Albany. . . . [Van der Donck] paints a generally positive picture of American Indians. His informative book is surprisingly accessible."-Sam Roberts, New York Times. -- Sam Roberts * New York Times *
"Long underutilized, this edition will place A Description of New Netherland alongside Thomas Harriot's A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, John Smith's A Description of New England, and William Wood's New England's Prospect as essential primary-source narratives of the early days of the New World."-Wendy Lewis Castro, Southwest Journal of Cultures -- Wendy Lewis Castro * Southwest Journal of Cultures *
"With this new edition, translator Diederik Goedhuys and editors Charles Gehring and William Starna look to elevate Van der Donck's Description to its rightful place in the canon of early American historical texts. . . . This lively translation is a much-needed teachable primary source for studying both New Netherland and its Indian neighbors."-Andrew Lipman, New York History -- Andrew Lipman * New York History *
"This new edition and original translation of a tract by Dutch settler and lawyer van der Donck makes more widely accessible a document crucial for understanding the history of Dutch colonization in North America. . . . This document is an important primary source for students and researchers in colonial Dutch history, the settlement of New York and North America more generally, and the understanding of Indian cultures in the Northeast."-J. Mercantini, CHOICE -- J. Mercantini * CHOICE *
"The sources on this geographical area in the Dutch period are sparse, so that the addition of this superb translation of van der Donck is of high importance to scholars."-Barbara Alice Mann, Anthropos -- Barbara Alice Mann * Anthropos *

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